Characters: Ianto, Kathy Swanson, Jack, Tosh, Gwen, Owen, OCs.
Summary: Some days, Ianto finds being part of a team more of a burden than a benefit.
Word Count: 1318
Written For: My genprompt_bingo square ‘Team Mates’.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Teams are like families; you don’t always like all the other members, don’t always get along with them, and there are times when you just want to completely disown them. But when the chips are down, you’ll be there for them just as you know they’ll be there for you.
Today, however, was one of those days when Ianto could cheerfully strangle the lot of them, Tosh excepted, and he really wished he could just casually sidle away from them and pretend they were nothing to do with him.
Owen and Gwen were squabbling like children, fighting over the same piece of equipment, with Gwen snapping “You’re doing it all wrong!” while Owen was insisting he knew best because he was a doctor and therefore more intelligent than a lowly ex-PC. That didn’t sit well with Gwen.
Meanwhile, Jack was flirting outrageously with a group of tourists. The women were lapping it up, but some of the men looked like they wanted to abandon their significant others and make a run for it.
Tosh, of course, was simply getting on with her job, taking readings from the object that had apparently fallen out of the sky directly in the path of a tour bus, causing it to run off the road and hit a tree. Jack’s bunch of tourists had been on board at the time.
Ianto had so far arranged for the bus to be towed, and for alternative transport to take the stranded passengers back to Cardiff. He’d also sorted out overnight accommodation for them, because although the tour company was sending a replacement bus, unfortunately it wouldn’t be arriving until the following morning. As he turned off his phone having just called Rhys to hire a truck for transporting what appeared to be part of an alien spacecraft back to the Hub, a voice spoke just behind him
“How the hell do you put up with it? I’d have locked the lot of them up by now.”
“Good question.” Ianto glanced sidelong at D.I. Kathy Swanson. “Usually, my answer would be ‘practice.’ Today, I’m leaning towards ‘barely’. Believe it or not, they aren’t usually quite this bad. Owen and Gwen can, on most occasions, behave more or less like adults, but for some reason today they seem to think they’re four-year-olds. If it were anyone else, I’d suspect a de-aging ray, but they both have an annoying tendency to embrace their inner child at random intervals, so this actually isn’t too far from normal behaviour where they’re concerned.”
“Do they really exist? De-aging rays? No, on second thoughts, I don’t think I want to know the answer to that.” Kathy shuddered. “It doesn’t bear thinking about. What’s the deal with Harkness? I thought you two were an item, but the way he’s acting…”
“We are, but although it pains me to admit it, what he’s doing is necessary. This is what he does best; distracting the public and making sure they’ll only remember what he wants them to remember. He can make quite an impression on people; he doesn’t even have to try that hard. When you combine Jack at his most charming and flirtatious with the judicious application of low Retcon doses, by the time those tourists are on their way back to Cardiff, all they’ll remember will be a flashy American in a nice coat, and that their coach crashed when an engine fell off a vintage plane on its way home from the air show. We got lucky with the timing; several old bombers have flown over this afternoon, and the colour of our piece of junk is similar to the way they’re painted.”
“Are you sure it’s not just a piece off a plane?” Kathy glanced dubiously at the object that had made a crater in the road. She and her people were on scene to set up diversions while Torchwood did their job.
“Quite sure. According to Jack, it’s Corvellian, one of the stabilisation pods off a Vortis class hopper, a short-range shuttle. Even if Jack didn’t recognise it, the passengers all report seeing a flash of brilliant golden light in the sky just before their driver had to swerve. That was the Rift opening, but Jack’s telling everyone it was the setting sun reflecting off the engine as it fell. He can be extraordinarily convincing when he tries, sort of like the Men in Black, only with more raw sex appeal.”
Kathy snorted softly. “That’s Harkness alright.” She offered a sympathetic smile. “I don’t envy you lot your job.”
Ianto smiled wryly. “I believe you’ve said that before. To tell the truth, I don’t envy myself right now. If you’ll excuse me, I think I’d better separate those two before they come to blows.” He nodded politely to Kathy and strode away towards Gwen and Owen, who were still fighting.
Kathy shook her head. “Rather you than me,” she muttered.
Reaching his teammates, Ianto deftly snatched the scanner out of their hands and held it above his head, out of their reach.
“Is this any way to behave in public? I hope you realise that now D.I. Swanson, several uniformed officers, thirty tourists, and a coach driver, all think you’re a couple of spoiled brats who won’t share their toys and don’t play well with others.”
“She started it!” Owen whined, pointing at Gwen.
“And you just proved everyone right. Well done, Owen. If you can’t do anything helpful, then go sit in the car and stop drawing attention to yourselves.”
“Who made you boss? I’m second in command!”
“Then act like it! You should be checking the passengers for injury and distributing the Retcon by now. Jack’s been keeping the them busy, but his cover story could use a little chemical enhancement.”
Owen looked a bit sheepish about that. “Yeah, alright, I’ll get on with that.” He headed for the SUV to get his medical bag.
“Does that mean I can…” Gwen reached for the device Ianto was still holding away from her.
“No. The way you two were wrestling with it, you’ve disrupted the settings. It’ll have to be re-calibrated first, and then I’ll help Tosh. You go to the police cordon and wait for Rhys; he’ll be arriving with a lorry soon and I want him ushered straight through. The sooner we get that piece of junk out of sight the better. Alright?”
Gwen nodded. “Yes, Ianto.” She headed off to do as she was told, for once not arguing.
Ianto made his way over to Tosh, readjusting the settings on the scanner in his hand. It only took a few moments. “How’s it going, Tosh?”
“Good. There’s no radiation present, but high levels of Rift energy confirm where this came from.” Tosh gestured at the twisted metal embedded in the road. “It is emitting a low-level magnetic field though, so I need to neutralise that before we try to load it in the truck, otherwise… Well, magnetic object, metal truck…” She glanced up at him. “Could cause problems.”
“Oh yeah,” Ianto said feelingly. “We can do without any more of those.”
“You do look a bit frazzled.”
“Only a bit? Tell me the truth, Tosh; don’t they sometimes just drive you round the bend?”
“Sometimes, definitely,” Tosh agreed. “But we’re a team, so I suppose we just have to put up with their annoying little quirks. It’s not really their fault; not everyone can be as sensible and well-adjusted as we are.” She was trying to look serious, but was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
Ianto grinned at his friend. “That’s true; I suppose we should make allowances for lesser mortals. Well, better get on with this then.” He started running a series of scans, already feeling much better for his little chat with his friend. Sometimes it was good to be reminded that he wasn’t the only adult on the team.